Censorship: Reflection

The activity I chose to discuss censorship was reviewing an electronic resource called Answering Questions about Youth and Access to Library Resources, written by the American Library Association (2017). First, I researched how to write a review and decided to follow the guidelines from a resource by Trent University (n.d.). Second, I developed my review, Appendix 1, by summarising the purpose of the resource, describing how the form meets the needs of the intended audience, identifying three elements that stood out to me, and recommending one area of improvement. Third, I referred to my notes from modules five and six to evaluate how well the resource explains children and young adults’ information-seeking behaviours and suggests solutions to challenges in delivering library services for children and young adult. Finally, I edited my review before posting it to my blog.

Before reviewing this resource, I knew that censorship was restricted access to information “enforced by a variety of bodies – including individuals, organization, and environment” (Manuell, 2020). Initially, I thought of censorship from the role of the information professional, such as a librarian, by making sure to not only acquire resources from mainstream publishers. By increasing the sources from which I would acquire resources, I can increase the diversity of topics and perspectives in the collection and vary the formats of resources collected to make users feel represented. While this resource did not explicitly define censorship, it discussed the elements of my definition of censorship and provided a pre-emptive solution for information professionals to respond to concerned individuals. Subsequently, this resource helped me to realise that, on the individual level, parents can be another source of censorship besides information professionals. After reading the suggested answers to parents’ frequently asked questions, I imagined how I would react in this situation. For me, it would be most significant to emphasise parental involvement in their child’s library experience to shape their choice of resources. This resource acknowledged my initial thoughts as correct. Equally, it emphasised that children and young adults have agency in their information-seeking behaviours to explain to a concerned parent the selection of a resource.

Therefore, I plan to fill this gap in my future career by adapting my knowledge of this resource to my library and expanding the responses as I implement new services. For example, I could work in a public library that provides reference service hours, makerspaces, or library spaces specifically geared towards children and young adults. If a parent asked me why these services are necessary, I would respond by providing recommendations to the parents of how they can be involved while explaining how the service meets the needs of children and young adults. I would also check if the library’s website featured any message for parents about censorship. If it did not, I would create the resource and add any questions I frequently receive. Hence, reviewing this resource has helped me to realise that parents are also a community group and their needs are related to other users. By keeping this in mind, I can improve how I promote library services while increasing access to information rather than engaging in censorship.

References

American Library Association. (2017). Answering questions about youth and access to library resources. http://www.ala.org/tools/challengesupport/youthresourcesFAQ

Manuell, R. (2020). Module 6: Challenges in delivering library services [Study notes]. INF505: Library services for children and young adults. Interact 2. https://interact2.csu.edu.au

Trent University. (n.d.). How to write academic reviews. https://www.trentu.ca/academicskills/how-guides/how-write-university/how-approach-any-assignment/how-write-academic-reviews

One thought on “Censorship: Reflection

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  1. Hi Caitlyn,

    This was a really interesting blog post and I felt you summarised your activity really well! It was clear and well thought out and I enjoyed reading about your experience.

    Your scenario detailing how you would respond to a concerned parent was well researched and I’m glad you felt confident in your reaction, knowing it was backed up by your research. I completely agree with your argument that it’s important children and young adults have agency in their information access and it’s a library’s responsibility to uphold that agency (Hartsfield and Kimmel, 2020, 374.)

    In my research, I found that parents and authority figures are more concerned with censorship when there is a sense of morality attached to the book in question. Caring for children can, for some caregivers, mean “protecting them from impurities” (Anderson and Masicampo, 2017, 1503) and this could be why caregivers are so against certain books that discuss certain topics. A balance can be found between navigating a caregiver’s expectations of what their child is reading and the child’s independent agency, which I think you discuss really well in this post.

    Good luck with the assignment!
    Tilly

    References
    Anderson, R. A., & Masicampo, E. J. (2017). Protecting the Innocence of Youth: Moral Sanctity Values Underlie Censorship From Young Children. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43(11), 1503–1518. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167217722557

    Hartsfield, D. E., & Kimmel, S. C. (2020). “Please Let This be the Crassest Thing My Child Reads!”: Exploring Community Perceptions of Challenged Children’s Literature. Reading Psychology, 41(5), 369–402. https://doi.org/10.1080/02702711.2020.1768983

    Liked by 1 person

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